Archive for January, 2005

Going to WalMart late last night, it was dark on the two lane country road. The snow that had previously deposited and subsided had returned to do more. The large, white, silver dollar sized flakes were still gently floating down but then suddenly disturbed as my truck swept by leaving them tumbling in the swirling air. The 35 mph was intensified into what seemed like a maddening pace by the dark road where you could not see anything not directly in the path of the Tahoe’s headlights. And the large, white snowflakes were even whiter being illumated by the trucks lights. The whole scene took me immediately back to any of the Star Wars movies (the original, 2 or 3 — or 4, 5 and 6 for those young punk Johnny come latelies) where Han Solo would be in his Millenium Falcon and switch to hyperdrive to escape the evil Empire chasing him. The empty space around him was an encompassing black and you could see the stars ahead but when he switched on the hyperdrive, the bright spots of light just went wizzing past in a blinding streak. That is a perfect description of my drive last night. It was pretty damn cool to get that effect at a grandma pace of 35 mph.

This morning started out a little rocky. My middle daughter woke up hesitant to go to school.  She isn’t normally the one that doesn’t want to go to school so we were wondering what was up. After a little crying and some questions, it turns out that she was worried about her loose tooth. She didn’t want it to come out at school and bleed. She also was worried that it would hurt and mommy or daddy wouldn’t be around.

After some hugging and consoling, I was finally able to get her to let me look at it. After even more consoling and convincing, I was able to get her to agree to let me pull it out. But it was a stubborn little front tooth. Her small tooth combined with Daddy’s fat fingers didn’t allow for a good enough grip to pull it out. So we took a break for breakfast hoping maybe some chewing action would extract it. That wasn’t the ticket so we took another break for me to take a shower. Well, she mustered enough courage to yank the thing out herself. She proudly ran up the stairs to show me, holding it like a trophy.

She then continued on her way to getting ready for school with a smile…..less one tooth. And a beautiful smile it is!

I am very proud of her.

…..Dan at aslowerpace

After my cardio workout in the basement this morning, I turned on the morning news for breakfast. Imagine my surprise when one of the teasers the newsman throws out before a commercial break was “A city is going to charge extra to take groceries home — find out which one next”.

I turned to my wife and said “What is this, California?”.

Turns out I was right. San Francisco is petitioning to become the first city to charge a tax on plastic grocery bags — 17 cents!!!

Check out an online story of it here —

It was events like this that drove me crazy in California. The encroachment of personal freedoms by liberal, taxing, socialist minded lemmings.

And it turns out…..we DID leave absurdity behind. Wheh! That was a close one.

…..Dan at aslowerpace

While upgrading my ReplayTV with a larger hard drive for more capacity, I also created a photo partition to load family pix onto it. That way, when I hit the pause button or the screen saver kicks on, I get an impromptu slide show of cool family pix (try THAT T*vo!).

I went through digital pix for the last 3 years and most were from back in CA. It was refreshing and bittersweet going through them. It brought back some emotions but different than a week and half ago were I was having challenges with our decision. Some of the pictures made me realize how far we have come. How much our kids have grown, how much we have changed, how much is still the same, how much work we have done. While in some ways I still missed our home and California, it also made me proud of how far we have come and how good I believe our decision is to come here. The decisions we made years ago have brought us to the fruits I saw in the pictures and that reinforced the decision we were in the midst of right now.

Again, similar pictures to what I was viewing a few weeks ago, but instead of looking at them with sadness and loss, I was looking at them as a document to our decision making to what is best for our family and proof that we have been doing the right thing all along since the inception of this family.

…..Dan at aslowerpace

Well, our church streak is over. We missed the service this morning. We just couldn’t get it going for the 8:15a event. Hopefully we’ll get back on track next week.

Still cold today although a break to more milder temps (40’s — woohoo!) is coming for this week.

And I successfully upgraded my ReplayTV in the family room. Swapped out the 40GB hard drive for a 160GB hard drive ($59.99 after rebate) to give me 160 hours of TV…..or how I’m gonna use it — 53 hours in high quality mode to at least utilize some of the capabilities of the new TV in that room. I’m still doing geek stuff but the dial up is killin’ me!

…..Dan at aslowerpace

Today was a good family day. Spent the time out with the family shopping, braving the snow flurries, picking up milk, bread and eggs (we learned from the last snowstorm) and eating lunch out. We had a nice meal at a local BBQ place with great food.

The one thing I miss about California is the public no smoking policies — in malls, in restaurants and in public places. It’s one of the few things California got right. Here, of course, the effective lines drawn down and signs designating a smoking vs. non smoking area keep everything in control so they don’t need such policy madness. Smoke doesn’t drift over. Naaahhh.  And places always have separate ventilation systems. I’ll quit before I get on my soapbox.

We didn’t get much snow — ’bout 2 inches. We should be able to get out tomorrow morning to make church. Who’da thunk we’d ever make 4 Sundays in a row much less batting one thousand.

It has been an interesting week. Not the turmoil like we had in previous weeks with school or second guessing our decision. But also not like we’ve been here 6 months and have totally adjusted. I have a feeling that the adjustment period will progress along more like a gradiation rather than a on/off kind of thing. We’ll have some good days and some bad days just like in the beginning. But the ratio will slowly weigh to the good days’ favor.

For example, Tuesday this week I received my daily morning email update from my wife. She was amazed that all the kids had gotten ready for school without whining or fighting or crying or causing any trouble. They each went to school with positive attitudes willingly. When she picked them up, they had good days and talked about it. To top it off, they all went to bed early and my son even put himself to bed in his own bed without prompting. This in itself is amazing because at one point during the night he ends up in our bed — either starting out or at 3am. It was like the planets aligned.

Well, of course, the next day Mars must have been out of whack because there was a bit of whining and stuff in the morning. Nothing major but enough to make you realize that the day before was an anamoly. Which leads to my conclusion that, in this transition, we will continue to have up days and down days but the ratio will slowly progress towards favoring the up days. Even in our regular lives in CA, we had down days so that is to be expected and not necessarily compared to our transition period here in Kentucky. What it signaled to me is that we are on the right path however slowly the transition is. And eventually, our good days will outnumber the not so good and we will realise that our adjustment period had ended some time before, only it was subtle. So subtle that we didn’t recognize it as we became true Kentuckians.

…..Dan at aslowerpace

While on my way home this evening, I stopped by the semi-local country convenience store. You know, the one with two gas pumps out front where you can buy beer, bait, snacks and lotto tix. Definitely not the sterile, polished, corporate cookie cutter older sibling a la 7-11, Circle K or AM/PM. This was like the rougher little brother — a little tattered, individual, and independent but has some culture in it’s own unique way.

Anyway, the pimple-faced clerk was a young kid that was really friendly. Actually said “hi” and “thank you” — rare for a kid that age and even rarer being a convenience store clerk. One of the customers in overalls and a trucker’s cap chatted with me in the friendly Kentucky manner I am acclimating too. He also greeted by name what appeared to be a regular customer when he came in. Turns out, he is the owner of the little enterprise and the kid is family. It had a nice, very small home town feel.

It will be a little pitstop on my 18 minute drive home from work if I need a Dr Pepper or iced tea…..or bait. Then I can walk in, say hi to Dave and he’ll greet me by name like all his other customers…..kinda like Norm on Cheers.

…..Dan at aslowerpace

We have enjoyed the redneck jokes for years. It’s time to take a  reflective look at the core beliefs of a culture that values home, family, country, and God.

If I had to stand before a dozen terrorists who threaten my life, I’d choose a half dozen or so rednecks to back me up.  Tire irons, squirrel guns, and grit — that’s what rednecks are made of.  I hope I am one of those. If you feel the same, pass this on to your redneck friends. Ya`ll know who ya are…

You might be a redneck if. . .

  • It never occurred to you to be offended by the phrase, “One nation, under God.”
  • You’ve never protested about seeing the 10 Commandments posted in public places.
  • You still say “Christmas” instead of “Winter Festival.”
  • You bow your head when someone prays.
  • You stand and place your hand over your heart when they play the National Anthem.
  • You treat Viet Nam vets with great respect, and always have.
  • You’ve never burned an American flag.
  • You know what you believe and you aren’t afraid to say so, no matter who is listening.
  • You respect your elders and expect your kids to do the same.
  • You’d give your last dollar to a friend.

If you got this email from me it is because I believe that you, like me, have just enough Red Neck in you to have the same beliefs as those talked about in this email.

Last night it was COLD! It got down to 5F degrees. THAT’S NOT A TEMPERATURE, THAT’S A TIME OF DAY! I haven’t been in this kind of cold since I was in Rhode Island two years ago. All I can say is BRRRRRR!!

This isn’t a surprise for this time of year though. At least I knew what we were getting into coming here. I think I’ll go check on the propane level (see previous post a few days ago).

…..Dan at aslowerpace